Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,612 / Jason

Posted by Agentzero on February 8th, 2011


There were a number of extremely good clues in this puzzle, but also a few that seemed imprecise to me.  The gems, I thought, were 13, 20 and 26 across.

1 KNUCKLE SANDWICH KNUCKLES (joints) AND (with) WI[t]CH (heartless enchantress)
9 EARLY ON EAR (ability to appreciate) LYON (French city).  I would have liked this clue even better if the word “developed” had been omitted; it’s not needed for the cryptic or surface sense
10 TEMPEST TEMP (agency worker) EST (“is,” French)
11 YEAST Y[ard] EAST (where the sun rises)
12 INTER ALIA INTER (bury) A LIA[r] (little fibber)
13 UNSPOILED *(SPUN) + OILED (drunk)
15 CLYDE dd
16 SCONE S[mall] + CONE (tapering figure)
18 GASTROPUB *(TOP GRUB’S A) Shouldn’t there be some kind of anagram indicator here?
20 ILL-GOTTEN *(LONG LET IT) This is a great clue, I think
23 RIGHT FRIGHT (terror) minus F (“female fleeing”)
24 TAKE TEN TAKE (draw) TEN (“score [i.e. twenty] is evenly split”)
25 ODDBALL O[ld] DD (designated driver) B[ore] ALL (everyone)
26 NON COMPOS MENTIS dd (“not fit to try” = legally incapable of standing trial).  I thought “Latin crackers” was great
2 UPROARS UP (increases) R[ight] OARS (strokes) I don’t see that “increases” = “up”, as opposed to “ups”
3 KEYSTROKE KEY (most important) STROKE (shot)
4 ENNUI hidden in rottEN NUIsance
5 ATTITUDES dd.  Again a question of number: surely “attitudes” = “manners”?
6 DEMUR DEMUR[e] (pretty much “shy and modest”)
7 IDEALLY I DEAL (trade in) L[ibert]Y
8 HOT WATER BOTTLES HOT WATER (trouble) BOTTLE (nerve) S (beginning to “shred”).  “Steamy bed mates” is a wonderful definition
14 LIGHTEN UP dd Correct parsing is *(PLUG IN THE); thanks to Jon88
15 CARTRIDGE CART (carry) RIDGE (saddle)
17 OILSKIN O[ld] + *(SILK) + IN
19 PAGEANT PAGE (a boy in training) ANT (a model of industriousness)
21 OUTDO dd An alfresco gathering could be an OUT DO OUTDOOR (alfresco) minus OR; thanks to Steve
22 NOOKS NO (American north; is this abbreviation peculiar to America?) OKS (gives thumbs up to)

15 Responses to “Financial Times 13,612 / Jason”

  1. Ferret says:

    Plain sailing today. Agree with issues at 2d, 5d and 22d….never heard of NO for north. Also struggled with 23a….why is the “in training” required, I was thrown by trying to make it as something in PE? Perhaps “a girl in training” would have worked better?

  2. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable and quick to solve. I especially enjoyed all the ‘long’ clues round the edges.

  3. Berny says:

    Thanks for the blog – like you some clever clues but a few which were shaky.

    Sorry but can’t follow the breakdown for 5 down

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks Agentzero – my parsing of 21d was OUTDO(OR) – ‘OR’ going with the definition being ‘to top’

  5. Nestorius says:

    Enjoyable and not too hard. Loved 1a, 12a, 8d, 3d.

    Ferret, I parsed “a boy in training” as a young lad in someone’s entourage. To train = to follow.

    Thanks AG & RayT!

  6. Jon88 says:

    Chill! Plug in the fire (7,2) LIGHTEN UP is a dd? So it’s just a coincidence that “plug in the” anagrams to the answer?!

    Would be call the GASTROPUB clue a “semi-&lit.”?

  7. Jon88 says:

    Or “Would we…”? Sigh.

  8. Agentzero says:

    Hi all

    Steve, your parsing of 21d is much better and undoubtedly what was intended.

    Jon, “So it’s just a coincidence that ‘plug in the’ anagrams to the answer?!”

    If by “coincidence” you mean “oversight by the blogger” then yes, absolutely.

  9. Jon88 says:

    Apologies for the teasing. But like the GASTROPUB clue, where’s the anagram indicator? “Fire”?

  10. Agentzero says:


    The anagrind of 14d must be “fire,” which I can just about see.

  11. smiffy says:

    I took the anagrind for 18A to be ‘must’ (in the sense of brewing/fermentation).

    I also beg to differ with @5 Nestorius on 19D. Isn’t the ‘in training’ a reference to the medieval meaning of page (i.e. a knight’s apprentice)?

    The ‘American’ clarification in 22D is reasonable and accurate to me. Seems to be a standard differentiatior between US and UK street-sign abbreviations, in my experience. And then there’s the differing origins of Soho, London and SoHo, NYC.

    Clue of the day to 8D for me; tip-top.

  12. Agentzero says:

    Annotations of 14d and 21d now amended.

    And, Smiffy, SoHo has now been joined by NoHo and NoLIta, which directly support the setter’s use.

  13. bamberger says:

    Failed on 1a -had ?a?d?i?h but just couldn’t see sandwich
    9a, 23a very clever -must remember this,2d, 3d & 19d -didn’t know that a page was a boy in training.
    Well blogged sir.

  14. Nestorius says:

    @11 Smiffy: I stand corrected. WordNet has “in medieval times a youth acting as a knight’s attendant as the first stage in training for knighthood”. You are spot on.

  15. Uncle Yap says:

    must, per Chambers
    n a dangerous frenzy in some male animals, such as elephants.
    adj in such a state.

    Surely this is a valid anagram indicator for what I thought was a superb &lit clue

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